Catalogue


Soldiers to citizens : the G.I. bill and the making of the greatest generation /
Suzanne Mettler.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2005.
description
xvi, 252 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0195180976 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2005.
isbn
0195180976 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5836343
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 193-242) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Suzanne Mettler is Alumni Associate Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Mettler's terrific new book explores a little-known, but momentous chapter in the history of the 'Greatest Generation' of America's WWII veterans--why they became the most civic-minded generation in our history. She shows that the GI Bill was one of the great success stories in Americanpublic policy, a story that is astonishingly relevant to debates today about civic renewal and the role of government. For contemporary civic reformers this book is must reading."--Robert D. Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse andRevival of American Community
"Suzanne Mettler has written a magnificent book, showing how the GI Bill enabled soldiers returning from World War II to become fully participating citizens in American democracy. Not only did the GI Bill open access to education; it delivered benefits in a dignified way and demonstrated thatgovernment could make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and the nation. The experiences--and many individual voices--of the World War II generation come through loud and clear in this book. Scholars and students will gain a fresh perspective on the effects of public policy oncitizen participation. And general readers will see what government at its best can do to spread opportunity and enrich citizenship in America."--Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and Director of the Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University, andauthor of Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
"The GI Bill changed my life after my service in the Korean War just as it changed the lives of the World War II veterans whose experiences Mettler brings to light. They provide unassailable evidence of how a federal program revolutionized America for the better. But do not treat Soldiers toCitizens as simply a portrait of the past. This book offers a potent and timely counter argument to those in power who seek to privatize every non-military function of government and remove all sense of shared sacrifice or shared benefit."--Charles Rangel, U.S. Congressman
"Suzanne Mettler has written a magnificent book, showing how the GI Bill enabled soldiers returning from World War II to become fully participating citizens in American democracy. Not only did the GI Bill open access to education; it delivered benefits in a dignified way and demonstrated thatgovernment could make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and the nation. The experiences--and many individual voices--of the World War II generation come through loud and clear in this book. Scholars and students will gain a fresh perspective on the effects of public policy on citizenparticipation. And general readers will see what government at its best can do to spread opportunity and enrich citizenship in America."--Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and Director of the Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University, and authorof Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
"As a beneficiary of the GI Bill, I can't recommend enough Suzanne Mettler's examination of the Bill and its transformative effect on the lives of so many veterans like me. It's clear that Mettler has come to know the GI Bill through the veterans she met in the course of her research, and theresult is as accurate a description of its design, implementation, and of the experiences of the soldiers who benefited from it as I have read. This book is a must-read not only for those interested in the Greatest Generation but also for anyone who wants to know what it takes to make a greatcountry."--Senator Bob Dole
"Mettler's terrific new book explores a little-known, but momentous chapter in the history of the 'Greatest Generation' of America's WWII veterans--why they became the most civic-minded generation in our history. She shows that the GI Bill was one of the great success stories in Americanpublic policy, a story that is astonishingly relevant to debates today about civic renewal and the role of government. For contemporary civic reformers this book is must reading." --Robert D. Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse andRevival of American Community
"Breaks new ground in the study of the Greatest Generation. Mettler shows conclusively how the GI Bill not only helped male veterans improve 'their stake in society' but how it also gave them the direction and tools to improve the society in which they had a stake." --Montgomery C. Meigs,General, US Army, Retired, and Louis A. Bantle Chair, Maxwell School of Syracuse University
"As a beneficiary of the GI Bill, I can't recommend enough Suzanne Mettler's examination of the Bill and its transformative effect on the lives of so many veterans like me. It's clear that Mettler has come to know the GI Bill through the veterans she met in the course of her research, and the result is as accurate a description of its design, implementation, and of the experiences of the soldiers who benefited from it as I have read. This book is a must-read not only for those interested in the Greatest Generation but also for anyone who wants to know what it takes to make a great country." --Senator Bob Dole "The GI Bill changed my life after my service in the Korean War just as it changed the lives of the World War II veterans whose experiences Mettler brings to light. They provide unassailable evidence of how a federal program revolutionized America for the better. But do not treatSoldiers toCitizensas simply a portrait of the past. This book offers a potent and timely counter argument to those in power who seek to privatize every non-military function of government and remove all sense of shared sacrifice or shared benefit." --Charles Rangel, U.S. Congressman "Mettler's terrific new book explores a little-known, but momentous chapter in the history of the 'Greatest Generation' of America's WWII veterans--why they became the most civic-minded generation in our history. She shows that the GI Bill was one of the great success stories in American public policy, a story that is astonishingly relevant to debates today about civic renewal and the role of government. For contemporary civic reformers this book is must reading." --Robert D. Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author ofBowling Alone: The Collapse andRevival of American Community "Breaks new ground in the study of the Greatest Generation. Mettler shows conclusively how the GI Bill not only helped male veterans improve "their stake in society" but how it also gave them the direction and tools to improve the society in which they had a stake." --Montgomery C. Meigs, General, US Army, Retired, and Louis A. Bantle Chair, Maxwell School of Syracuse University "Suzanne Mettler has written a magnificent book, showing how the GI Bill enabled soldiers returning from World War II to become fully participating citizens in American democracy. Not only did the GI Bill open access to education; it delivered benefits in a dignified way and demonstrated that government could make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and the nation. The experiences--and many individual voices--of the World War II generation come through loud and clear in this book. Scholars and students will gain a fresh perspective on the effects of public policy on citizen participation. And general readers will see what government at its best can do to spread opportunity and enrich citizenship in America."--Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and Director of the Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University, and author ofDiminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
"As a beneficiary of the GI Bill, I can't recommend enough Suzanne Mettler's examination of the Bill and its transformative effect on the lives of so many veterans like me. It's clear that Mettler has come to know the GI Bill through the veterans she met in the course of her research, and the result is as accurate a description of its design, implementation, and of the experiences of the soldiers who benefited from it as I have read. This book is a must-read not only for those interested in the Greatest Generation but also for anyone who wants to know what it takes to make a great country."--Senator Bob Dole "The GI Bill changed my life after my service in the Korean War just as it changed the lives of the World War II veterans whose experiences Mettler brings to light. They provide unassailable evidence of how a federal program revolutionized America for the better. But do not treat Soldiers to Citizens as simply a portrait of the past. This book offers a potent and timely counter argument to those in power who seek to privatize every non-military function of government and remove all sense of shared sacrifice or shared benefit."--Charles Rangel, U.S. Congressman "Mettler's terrific new book explores a little-known, but momentous chapter in the history of the 'Greatest Generation' of America's WWII veterans--why they became the most civic-minded generation in our history. She shows that the GI Bill was one of the great success stories in American public policy, a story that is astonishingly relevant to debates today about civic renewal and the role of government. For contemporary civic reformers this book is mustreading."--Robert D. Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University, and author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community "Breaks new ground in the study of the Greatest Generation. Mettler shows conclusively how the GI Bill not only helped male veterans improve 'their stake in society' but how it also gave them the direction and tools to improve the society in which they had a stake."--Montgomery C. Meigs, General, US Army, Retired, and Louis A. Bantle Chair, Maxwell School of Syracuse University "Suzanne Mettler has written a magnificent book, showing how the GI Bill enabled soldiers returning from World War II to become fully participating citizens in American democracy. Not only did the GI Bill open access to education; it delivered benefits in a dignified way and demonstrated that government could make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and the nation. The experiences--and many individual voices--of the World War II generation come through loud and clear in this book. Scholars and students will gain a fresh perspective on the effects of public policy on citizen participation. And general readers will see what government at its best can do to spread opportunity and enrich citizenship in America."--Theda Skocpol, Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology, and Director of the Center for American Political Studies, Harvard University, and author of Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
"As a beneficiary of the GI Bill, I can't recommend enough Suzanne Mettler's examination of the Bill and its transformative effect on the lives of so many veterans like me. It's clear that Mettler has come to know the GI Bill through the veterans she met in the course of her research, and theresult is as accurate a description of its design, implementation, and of the experiences of the soldiers who benefited from it as I have read. This book is a must-read not only for those interested in the Greatest Generation but also for anyone who wants to know what it takes to make a greatcountry." --Senator Bob Dole
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Summaries
Main Description
Americans who came of age during World War II--the justly praised"greatest generation"--participated in civic life after the war at unprecedentedlevels, joining fraternal groups, labor unions, churches and other localorganizations and becoming intensely active in politics. What fueled thisremarkable "golden age" of civic participation?In this eye-opening volume, Suzanne Mettler argues convincingly that theG.I. Bill was a key factor in this great civic renaissance. Drawing on extensiveresearch that included in-depth personal interviews with veterans and surveys ofhundreds of members of "the greatest generation," Mettler shows that veteranswho used the Bill's education and training provisions joined 50% more civicorganizations and took part in 30% more political activities than those veteranswho did not use it. But why did the policy have such a highly positive impact?Mettler describes the G.I. Bill's provisions as characterized by largesse,fairness, and the granting of a resource--advanced education--that is closelyidentified with the deeply held American value of social opportunity, the chanceto improve one's circumstances. The benefits also had a very wide scope: theywere used by half of all veterans, including people in all economic classes anda majority of African Americans. Most important, Mettler contends that the Billtreated veterans with dignity and respect, as first-class citizens, and hencethey became more inclined to participate as members of the society. It was agenerous and indeed magnanimous governmental act, and the veterans reacted inkind.For those concerned about the lack of civic involvement in contemporaryAmerica, including readers of Bowling Alone, this book offers a wealth ofinsight, contradicting the conventional wisdom that government programs have anegative impact on citizenship.
Main Description
"A hell of a gift, an opportunity." "Magnanimous." "One of the greatest advantages I ever experienced." These are the voices of World War II veterans, lavishing praise on their beloved G.I. Bill. Transcending boundaries of class and race, the Bill enabled a sizable portion of the hallowed"greatest generation" to gain vocational training or to attend college or graduate school at government expense. Its beneficiaries had grown up during the Depression, living in tenements and cold-water flats, on farms and in small towns across the nation, most of them expecting that they would oneday work in the same kinds of jobs as their fathers. Then the G.I. Bill came along, and changed everything. They experienced its provisions as inclusive, fair, and tremendously effective in providing the deeply held American value of social opportunity, the chance to improve one's circumstances.They become chefs and custom builders, teachers and electricians, engineers and college professors. But the G.I. Bill fueled not only the development of the middle class: it also revitalized American democracy. Americans who came of age during World War II joined fraternal groups and neighborhood and community organizations and took part in politics at rates that made the postwar era thetwentieth century's civic "golden age." Drawing on extensive interviews and surveys with hundreds of members of the "greatest generation," Suzanne Mettler finds that by treating veterans as first-class citizens and in granting advanced education, the Bill inspired them to become the activeparticipants thanks to whom memberships in civic organizations soared and levels of political activity peaked. Mettler probes how this landmark law produced such a civic renaissance. Most fundamentally, she discovers, it communicated to veterans that government was for and about people like them, and they responded in turn. In our current age of rising inequality and declining civic engagement, Soldiersto Citizens offers critical lessons about how public programs can make a difference.
Long Description
"A hell of a gift, an opportunity." "Magnanimous." "One of the greatest advantages I ever experienced." These are the voices of World War II veterans, lavishing praise on their beloved G.I. Bill. Transcending boundaries of class and race, the Bill enabled a sizable portion of the hallowed "greatest generation" to gain vocational training or to attend college or graduate school at government expense. Its beneficiaries had grown up during the Depression, living in tenements andcold-water flats, on farms and in small towns across the nation, most of them expecting that they would one day work in the same kinds of jobs as their fathers. Then the G.I. Bill came along, and changed everything. They experienced its provisions as inclusive, fair, and tremendously effective inproviding the deeply held American value of social opportunity, the chance to improve one's circumstances. They become chefs and custom builders, teachers and electricians, engineers and college professors.But the G.I. Bill fueled not only the development of the middle class: it also revitalized American democracy. Americans who came of age during World War II joined fraternal groups and neighborhood and community organizations and took part in politics at rates that made the postwar era the twentieth century's civic "golden age." Drawing on extensive interviews and surveys with hundreds of members of the "greatest generation," Suzanne Mettler finds that by treating veterans as first-classcitizens and in granting advanced education, the Bill inspired them to become the active participants thanks to whom memberships in civic organizations soared and levels of political activity peaked.Mettler probes how this landmark law produced such a civic renaissance. Most fundamentally, she discovers, it communicated to veterans that government was for and about people like them, and they responded in turn. In our current age of rising inequality and declining civic engagement, Soldiers to Citizens offers critical lessons about how public programs can make a difference.
Main Description
"A hell of a gift, an opportunity." "Magnanimous." "One of the greatest advantages I ever experienced." These are the voices of World War II veterans, lavishing praise on their beloved G.I. Bill. Transcending boundaries of class and race, the Bill enabled a sizable portion of the hallowed "greatest generation" to gain vocational training or to attend college or graduate school at government expense. Its beneficiaries had grown up during the Depression, living in tenements and cold-water flats, on farms and in small towns across the nation, most of them expecting that they would one day work in the same kinds of jobs as their fathers. Then the G.I. Bill came along, and changed everything. They experienced its provisions as inclusive, fair, and tremendously effective in providing the deeply held American value of social opportunity, the chance to improve one's circumstances. They become chefs and custom builders, teachers and electricians, engineers and college professors. But the G.I. Bill fueled not only the development of the middle class: it also revitalized American democracy. Americans who came of age during World War II joined fraternal groups and neighborhood and community organizations and took part in politics at rates that made the postwar era the twentieth century's civic "golden age." Drawing on extensive interviews and surveys with hundreds of members of the "greatest generation," Suzanne Mettler finds that by treating veterans as first-class citizens and in granting advanced education, the Bill inspired them to become the active participants thanks to whom memberships in civic organizations soared and levels of political activity peaked. Mettler probes how this landmark law produced such a civic renaissance. Most fundamentally, she discovers, it communicated to veterans that government was for and about people like them, and they responded in turn. In our current age of rising inequality and declining civic engagement, Soldiers to Citizens offers critical lessons about how public programs can make a difference.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Civic Generationp. 1
Creating the G.I. Billp. 15
Citizen Soldiersp. 24
Beyond All Expectationsp. 41
Conveying Messagesp. 59
Fostering Social Opportunityp. 87
Creating Active Citizensp. 106
Making Democracyp. 121
Mobilizing for Equal Rightsp. 136
Created with the Men in Mindp. 144
The Unfinished Workp. 163
Appendicesp. 177
Notesp. 193
Indexp. 243
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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